After months of Democrat and media efforts to solidify their version of the "truth" about what happened in Lafayette Park ahead of President Trump's visit to a riot-damaged church near the White House last summer, a new watchdog report released Wednesday debunks the mainstream narrative.
On June 1, 2020, President Trump walked out of the White House and across Lafayette Park to visit St. John's Episcopal Church. The historic building had been burned the night before in violent riots that erupted in Washington, D.C.
Joined by senior aides and Attorney General Bill Barr, President Trump held up a Bible and declared the greatness of America, promising to uphold the rule of law.
Almost immediately, the Democrat-Media complex sprung into action spinning a violent narrative that claimed President Trump and AG Barr had ordered authorities to violently clear Lafayette park so that Trump could visit the church for a "photo op."
According to a report from the Interior Department's Inspector General, the mainstream media jumped to false conclusions.
"The evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow a contractor to safely install antiscale fencing in response to destruction of Federal property and injury to officers that occurred on May 30 and May 31," reads an accompanying letter from Interior Department Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt. "Moreover, the evidence established that relevant USPP officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day."
And the real nail in the leftist narrative: "As such, we determined that the evidence did not support a finding that the USPP cleared the park on June 1, 2020, so that then President Trump could enter the park."
The full report from the Office of the Inspector General lays out the timeline of events on June 1, 2020 and reiterates that President Trump's visit to St. John's Church was not the reason agitators were cleared from Lafayette Park:
On the morning of June 1, the Secret Service procured antiscale fencing to establish a more secure perimeter around Lafayette Park that was to be delivered and installed that same day. The USPP, in coordination with the Secret Service, determined that it was necessary to clear protesters from the area in and around the park to enable the contractor’s employees to safely install the fence. The USPP planned to implement the operation as soon as the fencing materials and sufficient law enforcement officers arrived at the park. Six other law enforcement agencies assisted the USPP and the Secret Service in the operation to clear and secure areas near the park.
The operation began at 6:23 p.m. and was completed by 6:50 p.m. Shortly thereafter, at 7:01 p.m., President Trump walked from the White House through Lafayette Park to St. John’s Church. At 7:30 p.m., the contractor began assembling and installing the antiscale fence and completed the work by approximately 12:30 a.m. on June 2.
The evidence we obtained did not support a finding that the USPP cleared the park to allow the President to survey the damage and walk to St. John’s Church. Instead, the evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow the contractor to safely install the antiscale fencing in response to destruction of property and injury to officers occurring on May 30 and 31. Further, the evidence showed that the USPP did not know about the President’s potential movement until mid- to late afternoon on June 1—hours after it had begun developing its operational plan and the fencing contractor had arrived in the park.
The IG report also states that United States Park Police, despite using a "sound-amplifying long-range acoustic device" to issue warnings to agitators, "not everyone could hear the warnings." Additionally, "weaknesses in communication and coordination" between Park Police and other law enforcement agencies "may have contributed to confusion during the operation."
President Trump issued a statement thanking the Inspector General "for Completely and Totally exonerating me in the clearing of Lafayette Park!"
As we have said all along, and it was backed up in today’s highly detailed and professionally written report, our fine Park Police made the decision to clear the park to allow a contractor to safely install antiscale fencing to protect from Antifa rioters, radical BLM protestors, and other violent demonstrators who are causing chaos and death to our cities. In this instance, they tried burning down the church the day before the clearing. Fortunately, we were there to stop the fire from spreading beyond the basement—and it was our great honor and privilege to do so. Again, thank you to the Inspector General!